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How to Make a CV for My First Job

How do you make a CV that really pops and showcases your best side? In order to write a CV with a difference, we first need to understand what it is and what makes it effective. The right way of CV writing involves knowing several things beforehand, such as what format to use, what a good CV contains, what a CV personal statement means, and various other aspects. Let's cover all the basics before we get to the actual process of CV writing. When you make a CV, keep all these points in your mind for easy reference to see if you're on the right track.

What is a CV or Curriculum Vitae?

A CV or Curriculum Vitae is a comprehensive summary of your educational qualifications, skills, and experience on the job. Typically, it will include a lot of information about where you studied, what courses you took, any work experience you have, the skills you've acquired, research studies you have conducted, degrees awarded to you, papers you've published, presentations you've prepared, achievements in various areas, your hobbies and passions, etc.

As you can see, the information on a CV is an exhaustive outline of how you got to where you are right now. It is a snapshot in time, which also means it grows as you gain more experience, acquire more skills, and achieve new heights in your chosen career path.

Here's an example of what a CV might look like.

cv template

Since your CV covers nearly every aspect of your life, it is usually at least a couple of pages long, if not longer. That's because you'll need to have at least a dozen or more sections that tell the reader everything they need to know about you from an academic or professional standpoint. Obviously, it won't include details such as your star sign, favorite foods, your shoe size, etc. because it's not a social profile, and that's an important distinction because you may be confused about what to add and what to keep out.

To help you wade through a ton of information regarding yourself and your life, here are the typical elements of a CV for reference purposes. It might differ in reality but these are the most commonly used components or sections in a curriculum vitae.

Elements of a CV

elements of a cv


Although a CV can contain a dozen or more sections, when you boil it down to the essentials, there are six elements that go into making a CV that stands out from the crowd.

  • Personal Statement

  • Skills and Competencies

  • Certifications and other qualifications

  • Interests, passions, and hobbies

  • Job experience

  • Work experience

How is a CV Different from a Job Resume?

The main difference between a resume and a CV is that the former is based on competency or suitability for a job, while a curriculum vitae is typically based on credentials, publications, qualifications, research experience, etc.

A job resume is usually one page long and focuses on skills and experience relevant to the job being applied for. On the other hand, a CV shines a broader light on how qualified you are for the position.

difference between resume and cv


The image above shows you a summary of the key differences between a resume and a curriculum vitae.

Curriculum Vitae
Length of Document One page Two or more pages
Purpose of document To highlight relevant skills and experience To offer a comprehensive overview of the candidate's academic and professional profile
How the content is organized Multiple formats are used Reverse chronological order from the present date
Used by... Job seekers in the corporate world Candidates applying to research or teaching positions

What is the Best Format for a CV?

best format for a cv


A CV usually has a specific format but it is flexible in terms of the sections being moved around based on the purpose of the CV. For instance, certain publications by the candidate may hold greater weight for a particular position than any awards they may have received. The changes are minor but the document remains a comprehensive one that covers the candidate's entire academic and professional journey beginning from high school graduation.

The General Sequence of Sections in a CV or Curriculum Vitae

Although the sections may be moved around based on the actual purpose of the CV, the sequence followed is typically universal. Here are the various elements that go into a CV.

9 Elements that Make a CV
Contact Details Your full name with current address, most-used email ID, and a phone number where you can be reached
Academic profile   An outline of institutions attended and titles awarded since graduating high school
Professional experience A quick summary of your work experience with timelines, achievements, position, etc.
Skills and training acquired An overview of soft and hard skills that you've acquired over the course of your academic and/or professional career
Accolades, honors, and awards Name of each award, when you received it, who conferred the honor, and why it's a big deal
Papers, presentations, and publications Any academic papers you've written and published, along with DOI number, co-authors, summary, link, etc.
Professional memberships and associations A list of active memberships with the name of the organization and duration of association
Scholarships and grants Include the name, date, and institution awarding the funding
Additional certifications and competencies Details of additional certifications, which should include the name of the organization, the certification type, and the date it was awarded

What is the Accepted File Format for a CV?

In general, the PDF format is the most commonly used one for both CVs and resumes. There are several reasons why this has been the case for several years:

  • PDFs look identical on any device or operating system (as long as fonts are embedded)

  • Images and graphics can be rendered in high resolution

  • PDFs are easy to store

  • PDFs are easy to share

  • PDFs can be secured with passwords that prevent viewing, editing, printing, and copying

  • PDFs can be signed with legally binding electronic signatures

  • PDFs have a smaller footprint than other formats so even large files can be sent by email or uploaded to the web

All of these qualities make PDF the perfect format to make a CV on. You can consider using a robust PDF editor such as PDFelement, which offers a range of options that include:

  • Full editing capabilities to add, remove, and modify content

  • File conversion tools to get your CV in any alternate format

  • Annotations for collaborative document preparation

  • PDF security with enterprise-grade encryption algorithms

  • Create and handle forms with ease

  • Generate and add electronic signatures or handwritten signatures

  • Organize files and PDF pages

  • Convert scanned documents into editable PDF CVs

Where to Get a CV Template

pdfelement template mall resume

Most job portals offer repositories containing hundreds of CV samples, templates, and other resources. However, if you're looking for a free resource, the Wondershare PDFelement Template Mall is a great place to get various types of PDF templates. It's free for all Windows users of PDFelement and you can easily search the repository for the ideal format, layout, and design.

These templates  can be edited in PDFelement, where you can add the content as easily as working on a DOCX file in MS Word. The strongest selling point of PDFelement is that it simplifies the otherwise complex process of manipulating and managing PDF files.

Where Should Your CV be Stored?


Of course, you should definitely have a copy of your CV on your primary desktop computer, but is this sufficient? What if you're on the road and need to quickly access your CV to send to an important contact who told you about a position that's just opened up at your dream organization? What do you do then? Do you scramble through your email hoping you'll find a copy that you sent to someone in the past? Are you sure that this is the most recent version of your CV?

Avoid these worries by saving your PDF CV versions on Wondershare PDFelement Cloud.

Why Wondershare PDFelement Cloud?

recommend document cloud

Wondershare PDFelement Cloud

Premium 100GB Cloud Storage

High-quality Electronic Signature

Collaborative Online Annotation

Easy and Fast File Sharing

  • Up to 100GB of PDF storage space on the cloud

  • Convenient and safe cloud storage solution for CVs that are private or confidential

  • Accessible on any modern browser on any connected device

  • Download CVs directly to desktop in PDFelement Pro DC for Windows

  • Upload from PDFelement to the cloud - edit on desktop; upload to cloud

  • Securely share files with time-limited share links and permission levels

  • Private and collaborative commenting so others can offer inputs for developing your CV

Tips  to Make a CV Shine

You now know the nuts and bolts of what a CV is, how to make a CV from scratch, how to sequence the content, where to get templates, where to store them securely, and so on.

But what about that extra X factor that makes a CV stand out to the person reviewing them?

Below, we've outlined some of the top common features of great-looking CVs that get noticed immediately, even in a pile of other CVs on the interviewer's desk.

  • Use a clear font - The right font can really make your CV pop by giving it a simplistic yet professional look. Fancy fonts don't belong here! Keep it simple (sans serif) and keep it bold (at least 10 or 11-point font sizes.

  • Efficient spacing - The vertical line spacing you pick is crucial because it impacts the readability of the document. Too little space and it will look cramped; too much and the interviewer might get the impression you're trying to use up space with no substance.

  • Margins - A half-inch to one-inch margin on all sides should suffice. It will give your CV a neat and uncluttered look, and it leaves space for them to write notes on a hard copy version of your CV.

  • Use bullet points - Avoid long paragraphs of text. You don't want a TL; DR situation with the interviewer! Keep it short and put it in bullets. If you can't express it in 3-4 bullet points, it's probably not worth putting in there anyway. You don't want to come off as being too verbose in your CV. It's not a novella!

  • Use clear headers for each section - If the reader skims through your CV once, they should at least be able to capture the headers and find what they're looking for. Some interviewers look for qualifications before experience, and vice versa. Some might want to see your accolades. Whatever the section, it should have a clear header with adequate line spacing.

  • Proofread it multiple times - This is too important a document to let typos and spelling errors creep in. Ask a couple of people with solid written language skills to help you proof it. Do it yourself at least a few times, looking for any minor spacing or punctuation errors that could spoil the overall effect of the CV's presentation.

Now that you have all the tools you need, go out and make the best CV you've ever compiled and go after that job you want so badly.

This table can be converted into an image and used in place of the image above.

Can you give a free sample CV template here that they can download?

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